Canada is predicting a doubling of oil production by the end of this decade. This means it will have to secure its workforce to the tune of tens of thousands of new laborers. So if you want a job in the energy sector, try your northern neighbor.
Since 2010 alone, Canadian officials say that some 35,000 US laborers have obtained permits to work in Canada, and there are plans in the works to make permits even easier to obtain. In the meantime, Canadian head hunters are stepping up their efforts at recruitment—taking advantage of the number of jobless in the US.
Oh, and these jobs tend to come along with an attractive salary, free healthcare, stability and bonuses.
Canada’s western province of Alberta is a good place to start. Here we have vast deposits of oil sands and experts predict the labor pool will be short nearly 115,000 workers by 2021.
The city of Edmonton—population 812,00--is apparently another growing hotspot for US oil workers. Here, there is a lot of work to be done to mine and extract these heavy, viscous oil sands. Companies leading the recruitment effort include Shell Canada Ltd., Chevron Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy. The unemployment rate in Edmonton is a low 4.5%, and jobs in the energy sector are easy to come by. Plus, the oil sands boom is creating jobs in other sectors, from construction and manufacturing, to retail and the services industry.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecasts that Canadian crude oil output will increase from 3 million bpd in 2011 to 6.2 million bpd by 2030, largely due to oil sands production, which itself is expected to triple to 5 million bpd in this same period.
Related Article: Trading Places: The Intertwined Fortunes of Coal and Natural Gas
From 2009 to 2011, employment growth in the oil sands sector alone was 15%. The oil sands industry itself will need to come up with another 35,000 workers in the next decade if it hopes to meet its ambitious growth plans.
Last year, the Canadian energy sector employed 187,000 people … and counting. Over the next three years, the energy sector (outside of the oil sands industry) will require another 9,500 workers. But this number will be much greater when accounting for employee turnover.
Canadian oil officials describe energy sector labor shortages as acute. In fact, they worry that labor could be a key factor that might keep these forecasts from becoming reality.
A recent study showed that recruiting and retaining workers—especially for skilled trades and engineering—has been difficult, and companies are increasingly fighting over the labor pool.
So not only are their plenty of jobs available—and significant growth expected—prospective oil sands workers will have negotiating power.
Image has also posed a problem for the job market. Canadian energy officials say that the country has a low level of “energy literacy” and the political showdown over oil sands has harmed the industry’s reputation.
When politicians begin to chime in on the negative environmental impact of oil sands production, the jobs start to seem less attractive. This has made the industry’s attempts to get Canadians to migrate from other areas into Alberta, for instance, to fill in the labor pool gap. It has also made it more necessary to step up recruitment in the US.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com